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Event: BG David Wherley, on September 11, 2001 Commander of the 113th Wing of the USAF
Air National Guard, Andrews AFB
Type of event: Interview
Date: August 28, 2003
Special Access Issues
Prepared by: Philip Zelikow
Team Number:
Location: Harvard, Boston, MA
Participants - BG David Wherley, USAF
Participants - Commission: Philip Zelikow, Ernest May

On 8/28/03 I taught a pair of classes in an executive program at Harvard. General Wherley was
a student in the program and introduced himself to me, explaining his relationship to the 9/11
story and volunteering the information indicated below. Ernest May was present during this

On 9/11 General Wherley was on active duty, commanding the 113th Wing of the USAF Air
National Guard. This is the Guard wing for Washington, DC, based out of Andrews AB.
Watching the images on TV that morning he went from his office to the Wing's communications

Shortly after the plane hit the Pentagon, agents from the Secret Service contacted the Wing for
help. Wherley called the JOC while watching TV footage of employees evacuating the White
House complex. Wherley finally got through on the phone to an agent, Ken Beauchamp, on the
presidential protective detail. He knew Beauchamp from other routine work with -ike Wing.
Beauchamp asked the commander to send up aircraft to protect Washington. Wherley wanted to
help but asked, with all respect, to "speak to someone a little higher up the food chain."

Wherley then talked to another Secret Service agent, Becky Editor. Speaking for the Vice
President, she asked General Wherley to put aircraft over DC with orders to intercept any aircraft
that approached within any 20 miles of the city and turn that aircraft around. If the aircraft
would not change course, the interceptor should use "any force necessary" to keep that aircraft
from crashing into a building. Wherley asked if there was anybody in a uniform around there he
could talk to. Editor alluded to a Navy captain who was busy on other matters, but said no one
was available. Wherley felt the instructions were not in military terms, but were understandable
enough. \N SENSITIVE



He had some questions about rules of engagement and finally talked to an agent (possibly Editor,
this was unclear) who was standing next to the Vice President and confirmed that the planes
were free to engage if the aircraft could not be diverted. Again, this seemed clear enough to
Wherley, which he interpreted as "weapons free."

Wherley had no properly armed planes at Andrews. His units were not air defense units. But,
getting reports about a possible aircraft coming up the river toward Washington, he sent up a
fighter aircraft that had just come in. That plane went up briefly, but had only about 10 minutes
worth of fuel left and soon returned. Wherley recalled that this incoming aircraft was a false
alarm - he thought it might have turned out to be a rescue helicopter of some kind.

Wherley ordered a pair of aircraft into the air, with an experienced squadron commander as the
lead pilot. The lead pilot would decide whether or how to engage any intruder under the rules of
engagement Wherley had received from the Secret Service and the Vice President. This pair of
planes was effectively unarmed except for "training bullets" that would be used on a range.

All of this was separate from NORAD. But when Wherley's planes got up, they communicated
effectively with the NORAD planes that had already arrived over Washington (from Langley
AB). The Guard planes stayed low, where their radios could communicate effectively with .
Washington Approach. The NORAD planes stayed high, at or above 20,000 feet, and were
getting their information through NEADS. Wherley thought the NORAD interceptors were

m aware of UA 93, but it took some time to learn that UA 93 had crashed - perhaps an hour after
the fact.
\e NORAD planes had the advanta

awareness because of their altitude. But the Guard planes had the advantage of solid, reasonably
clear information on the rules of engagement, while NORAD had different, unclear information
on ROEs that NORAD was still sorting out. The Guard planes also had better communications
with Washington Approach, which was the best source of radar data on possible threats.
Fortunately, thanks to training, Wherley felt the Guard and NORAD pilots actually in the air did
a good job of interacting directly with each other so that either pair of aircraft could be ready for
any contingency.
'•*" •
Wherley said there are tapes of at least some of the communications with these aircraft that day.

Contact information for Wherley:

113th Wing, DCANG

3252 E. Perimeter Road
Washington. DC -20762-5011
9/11 Personal Privacy


RG: 148
Box: 00001 Folder: 0001 Document: 9
Series: Dana Hyde Files

Copies: 1 Pages: 77


The item identified below has been withdrawn from this file:

Folder Title: General Wherley - Andrews [AFB]

Document Date: 10-03-2001
Document Type: Transcript
Special Media:

Subject: transcript of Air Guard history interview with Gen

. Wherley

In the review of this file this item was removed because access to it is
restricted. Restrictions on records in the National Archives are stated in
general and specific record group restriction statements which are available
for examination.

NND: 382
Withdrawn: 09-05-2008 by:

RETRIEVAL #: 382 00001 0001 9

System DocID: 4171

Event: Interview of BG General David Wherley, former Commander of the 113th Wing
of the Air National Guard, Andrews AFB

Type: Interview

Date: February 27, 2004

Team: 8

Special Access Issues: Clearances passed to DOD

Location: Andrews Air Force Base -113th Fighter Wing, Morningside, VA

Participants (non-Commission): General Wherley and Air Force General Counsel's

office Tony Wagner

Participants (Commission): John Farmer, Dana Hyde, Miles Kara and Lisa Sullivan


BG General David Wherley has been in the DC National Guard since 1973. He has done
tours at the Armory and the Pentagon. He has flown F-105s; F-204s; F-16s; and some
airlift missions. The 113th Wing was never an air defense unit. It fulfills multiple roles
and deploys overseas. Prior to 9-11, most of the fighter pilots had just returned from
Nelose AFB getting advance training for going abroad. They were tired on 9-11 and
many were on leave. The 113th Wing was not tied to the NORAD chain of command on

He himself is not a tactical person. His role on 9-11 was to provide what he called "top
cover" for his fighter pilots in the air that day.

On 9-11

Wherley was aware of the situation in New York the morning of 9-11. He thought that
the attack was isolated. It did not occur to him that DC would be a possible target as well.
He attributes this to his knowledge of the prior terrorist attack on the World Trade Center
in the 1990s.

His executive assistant was watching TV in the conference room when the report of the
attack on the Pentagon broke. She screamed because her husband worked there. Wherley
went to McNulty in intelligence operations. At the SOC desk (spelling?) was a radio,
computer, television. The supervisor that monitors the fighters to help guide them, Dan
Caine, was standing behind the counter and with two phones in his hands. He said he

was trying to get his airplanes back on the ground. On one of the phones was Ken
Bouchamp from the Secret Service.

113th Wing and U.S. Secret Service

Major Caine was friendly with Bouchamp from a previous encounter. Bouchamp told
Wherley: "The White House wants you to put up a CAP over the White House."
Wherley wanted someone "higher up" than Bouchamp to give him that order. Bouchamp
gave him a phone number to the White House JOC.

Wherley remembers standing in front of a TV screen trying to call the JOC from the SOC
desk watching people running out the front door of the White House. Finally, the Secret
Service picked up. He remembers the name "Betsy Editor." She confirmed the White
House wanted a CAP over it. Wherley asked to speak to the Vice President (he knew the
President was not there because Air Force One leaves from Andrews). She said he could
not because the Vice President was on the phone. He wanted more instructive orders. His
thoughts at this time were: "Do I worry about liability or do I do what I can do to

The initial request: Dan Caine had placed the call to Ken Bouchamp (USSS)? Wherley
did not know who reached out to whom.

Meanwhile, all of the pilots present were gathered around him with a "put me in, coach"
attitude. Missiles were already ordered and they were in the process of loading A-9s.

Two things came out of his call to the WH JOC: (1) Becky Editor confirmed that WH
wanted a CAP, and (2) that he wasn't going to get to talk to anyone he felt comfortable
getting the order from.

He knew that law enforcement (the Secret Service) wouldn't give rules of engagement.
The mission coming from the USSS was to "attempt to turn them away a plane" within
20 miles of the airports surrounding Washington DC (Dulles, National, and BWI).
Within 8 miles of critical infrastructure, he was authorized to use "what ever force
necessary" to intercept the plane. These instructions were relayed to Wherley by an
unidentified male voice at the JOC who took the phone from Editor.

Wherley said he thought the Langley fighters were not known to the USSS at the JOC at
that time. He was also unaware of them at this time.

Major Hutchinson (Bully 1)

Washington Approach was screaming for help. Supposedly, they were watching a plane
go up the river. Wherley said he had the ROE, but he made the decision not to give it to
Billy Hutchinson while the fighter was en-route to Washington. "It would have been too
hard to pass that along to a pilot." Wherley confirmed that Hutchinson (contrary to the
testimony he provided in his interview with the Commission earlier that day) was asked
to "check out" the situation over Washington, which he did. Hutchinson's instructions
were not explicit. Wherley said that Hutchinson may have been prepared to take actions.
However, he would not have held Hutchinson accountable if he did not act should he
have encountered a civilian aircraft, because that order was not given to him. If he had
chosen to, he would have supported it. It would have been a judgment call. In his mind,
he saw Billy "flying across someone's nose".

(Dana showed him handwritten notes that he thought looked more like specific military
ROE that pilots went out the door with.)

Wherley's instructions to the fighter pilots

This is the guidance he gave to his pilots: "weapons free - flight lead control - and the
perameters are the White House. They were to try to turn the plane away first." His
major concern was mistakes.

Pilots knew what they were dealing with. They had great situational awareness because
of the TV. They are the "Capitol Guardians". There was a certain "home turf mentality

The other instructions he gave the pilots were from his knowledge of the area. He knew
that Washington Approach would know who the suspect craft would be; whereas
NORAD had no one "looking in." Their radios didn't work at all below 20 thousand feet.
Communications between the 113th Wing and NEADS were horrible.

He was primarily focused on getting instructions to pilots. As top cover, he assumed

responsibility of their actions.

Air National Guard and NORAD

The major difference between his operation as an Air National Guard and NORAD is that
he is not on a "tether." The guidance he got from White House - weapons free - was the
guidance which gave his command the most leeway to do whatever was necessary.
Weapons free guidance - is a "un-tether." He did not need other guidance.

He wanted Caine to stay on the ground because he was the weapons officer. Wherley felt
as though he couldn't afford to have him in the air. Spins - special instructions - guide
how you operate - his intention was to defend the capital until relieved - he wanted them
to write spins - NORAD has this air defense structure and they did things very

From your perspective, were you concerned with friendly fire incident?
No, he was more worried about a huge a crowd descending on the capital to protect it.

He told Sasserville: "When the other fighters show up, you run the CAP." Sasserville
told Langley fighters to stay high because they could talk to NORAD. National Guard
stayed low because they could take planes out. The reason why National Guard fighters
were not talking to NORAD that day was because of their altitude; not because of their
communications systems.

Wherley remembers Dan Caine giving Washington Approach controllers a "crash

course" on bulls-eye terms. The civilian controllers needed to know what to tell fighters
in order for them to respond as quickly as possible.

The ROE was given out to the fighter pilots from the SOC counter. After Sasserville and
Caine get up around 11 AM, Wherley was still at the SOC desk at the Air Operations
Center. Phil Thomson took over as supervisor of flying on the radios.

His boss at the time (Wherley now has his job - Commanding general of the DC National
Guard) was Warren Freeman. He was dealing with the ground war; getting people home;
the traffic jams. They were both hoping to get a call back from military but they never

Thomson told Sasserville over the radio (later in the day) a cautionary message to beware
of "Dr. Cesna." Wherley confirmed this, and elaborated that there was no specific
instructions coming across that Thomson was speaking to in issuing caution. He was just
reinforcing the pilot to use caution.

He elaborated; Wherley's main concern he was needed to convey to the fighter pilots was
the pressure he was feeling to do everything right. He knew he couldn't shoot down the
wrong guy, but he couldn't miss the right one either.

Wherley clearly stated that he was not expecting the pilot to ask for permission to fire
once he was airborne.

Transition ROE - effect it had on 113th Wing's operation

Wherley received a classified fax later in the day with the ROE which made him feel
better because it used the same words he already used to instruct the fighter pilots.

- NORAD had to come up with a way to clear pilots to fire a lot quicker and efficiently
- Transition ROE was issued by CINC NORAD
- Cleared to fire
- Expanded the envelope for intercepts

113th Wing's operational ROE was already in effect at this time.

Transition ROE had no impact on 113th Wings operations other than it got the wheels in
motion to organize a more routine system of alert that was DOD-wide. It ultimately
brought the Air National Guard back into fold with NORAD. Wherley felt that sort of
definition was needed.

The faxed ROE implied that DC was separate from the rest of the country in terms of
what applied. Weapons-free stayed in effect there for a few days while the rest of the
country was under transition ROE. An alert pilot for NORAD in the vicinity under
transition ROE does not have authority to shoot down an airplane. Under weapons-free,
and air national guard fighter pilot would have the authority.

Weapons-free lasted longer than Wherley was comfortable with. The impact of the fax
reinforced his actions. He was operating under the umbrella of NORAD.

"National Guard chain-of-command is an interesting concept because there is none." The

DC National Guard was formed in 1802 to defend the capital. He was a presidential
appointee. It is a "federal enclave." He works for the Sect of the Army. The Guard may
transition to DHS. His role is very unique. If it happened any where other than DC, a
governor would have to concur with actions taken on 9-11.

"National Guard doesn't go to war. We go as members of the U.S. Air Force."

Wherley knew NORAD had no radars under 30 thousand feet. He was sensitized to that.
Wherley wasn't asking FAA to declare airplanes hostile. The pilots wouldn't expect the
controllers to do so, either. The pilots would make their own determinations.

The intelligence officers were on the secure line to the JOC getting information. Flight
93 crashed at 10 AM. He didn't know about it until it was closer to 11 AM. He said
there were 8 tracks out there that were unaccounted for - flight 93 and a Canadian flight
caused him the most concern. Another plane that ended up landing in Cleveland had
been a concern as well (Commission Note: this could be Delta 1989).

The radar feeds were first seen when putting together the timeline. "We were trying to
understand why we didn't know about flight 93 until later," Wherley said.

"Two ROEs for the same CAP at the same time"

"It was a real challenge for NORAD to do all the things they would have needed to do to
'authenticate' a response," said Wherley. He believed at the time that the National Guard
fighters were the only fighters that could respond to the situation should one arise. The
cultures could have clashed that day, but Wherley knew Langley fighters would not be
that effective. They wouldn't get down too low because of communication needs.
The Langley fighters might have said, "We own that airspace," but Sasserville is the one
that organized it.

Now, the same restrictions and authentification procedures that NORAD uses are used
everywhere. As soon as weapons-free was gone, we had all the authenticators. The
Command Post has changed. The equipment is much better. There is an FAA system in
there now. The SOC desk is the same.

Tower was saying: " Class B airspace is closed. You'll be shot down."

DOD Response to 9-11 and Other Agencies

NMCC did not call the DC Air National Guard.

In his opinion, Langley active duty fighters should have CAP-ed sooner. "AF 1st fighter
wing never got up. Everyone was expecting them to."

Wherley wanted to call 1st Air Force; he wanted to call NORAD in Colorado Springs. He
swears he talked to a Lt Col Peterson at Peterson AFB. He told him what we were doing
- and they said, "OK, keep doing it." They had huge awareness of what was going on and
Wherley felt a little better about what operation he was running post-event. He was very
uncomfortable with the situation. He didn't feel comfortable until he heard ice President
Cheney's interview with Tim Russert (Commission note: in an interview from Camp
David post-9-11).

First time he talked to NEADS was Thursday morning (two days after 9-11). He was
trying to get a tanker at that time. The National Guard had effectively created its own
system to protect the capital. Bob Marr had seven other caps in the NE Region.
According to Wherley, Marr seemed to think the 113th Wing was doing OK.

Col Brooks was deputy to Mark Doherty. He called the NEADS.

He thought the mentality changed for every American with UAL 93. The Cuba scenario
no longer applies. Prior to 9-11, weapons-free wasn't necessary because a 9-11 scneario
was inconceivable.

Wherley is not aware of any further coordination with the USSS from that day.


RG: 148
Box: 00001 Folder: 0001 Document: 10
Series: Dana Hyde Files

Copies: 1 Pages: 9


The item identified below has been withdrawn from this file:

Folder Title: General Wherley -- Andrews [AFB]

Document Date:
Document Type: Handwritten Notes
Special Media:

Subject: notes of interview with Gen. Wherley

In the review of this file this item was removed because access to it is
restricted. Restrictions on records in the National Archives are stated in
general and specific record group restriction statements which are available
for examination.

NND: 382
Withdrawn: 09-05-2008 by-

RETRIEVAL*: 382 00001 0001 10

System DocID: 4208

RG: 148
Box: 00001 Folder: 0001 Document: 12
Series: Dana Hyde Files

Copies: 1 Pages: 3


The item identified below has been withdrawn from this file:

Folder Title: General Wherley - Andrews [AFB]

Document Date: 02-23-2004
Document Type: Memorandum
Special Media:

Subject: US Secret Service memo re: 9/11/2001

In the review of this file this item was removed because access to it is
restricted. Restrictions on records in the National Archives are stated in
general and specific record group restriction statements which are available
for examination.

NND: 382
Withdrawn: 09-05-2008 by:

RETRIEVAL*: 382 00001 0001 12

System DocID: 4210

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Wherley Interview

(1) Communication with USSS\Order to launch

• Caine and Sass saw the second plane hit WTC II; went from the
lounge to the operations desk and got on the phone with ATC
tower - thought they would have trouble recovering 3 fighters.
Talking to the Tower Chief (NAME?); he says we just had a
request from USSS to get fighters over DC. So Caine hung up and
called Ken Beauchamp. He says I don't know of any such request
but I'll call you back. Beauchamp calls back and says "Get
anything you can airborne."
• Wherley talks to Beauchamp; he says get me someone higher up in
the food chain. Beauchamp gave him the number of the JOC;
Nelson Garabito.
• Talked to Garabito; Wherley said I'd like someone in the military
food chain to tell me this.
They said, "It's coming direct from the Vice President. They
want a CAP over Andrews.

Who is the "they"? It was Garabito who told you this?

Ediger repeated it.

(2) ROE

• Meaning of weapons free?

They have control from the cockpit

• Meaning\effect of transitional ROE

• Hutchinson - did he or did he not have ROE?

(Wherley said no in historian interview; Hutchinson said yes to

• Passed ROE to Sasserville

(3) What were the intel guys doing?

"They actually got on a secure line to the JOC and were getting feeds
from their sources on the airline tracks that were suspect."
Trying to find targets? Playing I.D./Weapons Desk—

Didn't think they would be much help; knew their comms weren't

Wherley tried to call NORAD while Dougherty called First Air Force.
Called CMOC and talked to Lt. Col. Peterson; told to call
Huntress; passed frequency 360.7; "I don't think they tried it
Did he tell his pilots to try it, or just FYI? His pilots
could have been shot down if the Langley fighters had
the same ROE, and weren't aware who was up there.
You would think it would be a priority.

(5) Awareness of Langley Fighters

Langley first learned of Andrews by hearing them on Guard.

Langley stayed high and Andrews worked lower altitude.

Doesn't know if pilots passed the ROE to Langley.



(1) Why wasn't Bully 2 (landed at 1010) turned around?

(2) Briefing Caine refers to in his interview (pp6-7)

Maj. Billy Hutchinson

(1) Radio communication capability while on training mission

(Eric is being radio relay, because I can't talk to dog that far out, we're 22o
miles south at tanker track; we're about halfway back, when I am able to
talk to dog, by that time Gen. Wherley is down here, at sof desk because
they've seen what's happened on tv and they tell me #68051)

(2) Location on training mission; time it would have taken to get back to
Explore logistics of what if???

(3) Decision to take off again -

"There is another aircraft, I'm sent on flight 93, they don't know
what's going on, know direction it's coming and apparently have been
given some info it's coming their way."

Did you know at the time the call sign 93? Is that what was said at the
time, or have you pieced that together now?

(4) ROE

"When I took off, I've given info to intercept aircraft coming toward
d.c. and prevent it from reaching d.c.
Said, say again
He ended up saying 9wherley (sic) telling me I have authorization
from nca to prevent aircraft from reaching d.c.

(5) Who was vectoring you toward intercept? ("Washington controllers"

- ZDC or National Tower)

Washington Approach

(6) Fly by the Pentagon